The Orange Community Players will open their 58th consecutive season with the screwball comedy “Lend me a Tenor.” Set in 1934, the famous tenor, Tito Morelli, is due to perform at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. He arrives late, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. In an attempt to fool the audience, general manager Saunders persuades a fellow named Max to dress in Morelli’s costume and perform as “Il Stupendo”, Tito Morelli. The madcap comedy will be the main stage directorial debut of Rico Vasquez. “Lend me a Tenor” is guaranteed to keep the audience in side splitting laughter. “Tenor’ opens August 13.
October will once again bring “Bye Bye Birdie” to the OCP stage. Conrad Birdie, rock and roll singer who causes females to faint with his hip swinging gyrations and brassy singing has been drafted. For his farewell performance before reporting to the Army, he will bestow a kiss on an All American teenage girl from Sweet Apple Ohio, Kim McAffee. Birdie’s appearance in Sweet Apple sets the town and the McAffee household topsy turvey. The kiss is to be bestowed to Kim on the Ed Sullivan Show. The show is a satire done with affection and gives insight into everyday small town life. It is a “feel good” musical that will be as enjoyable to the cast as to the audience. Thomas May will direct the show. May’s last effort at OCP was as assistant director of the well received “Shipwrecked.” “Birdie” opens October 22.
OCP veteran and current board president Diana Hill will direct “Steel Magnolias”, the story of a group of gossipy ladies in a small town beauty parlor. The play is funny and heartwarming at the same time as the story unfolds. The beauty shop is the one where everyone who is anyone in that small town goes to get their hair done with a side order of the latest local gossip. There is tragedy in the second act that brings the ladies together and shows the underlying strength of all of them, even Ouiser who has, as she says, “been in a bad mood for forty years.” This is a show to not miss. It opens February 11, 2016 for the first of two three day runs. There will also be two matinees.
Ending the season will be “Into the Woods”. The play brings the Brothers Grimm storybook characters to the stage. The story follows a baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes she could attend the king’s festival; and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. The baker and his wife learn they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse. They set off on a journey to break the curse and get everyone’s wishes granted. The musically sophisticated show gives actors an opportunity to show their comedic skills. Veteran director and actor Codie Vasquez will be the director to bring Grimm’s characters to the stage beginning April 14, 2016.
Currently at OCP the Young People’s Theater Workshop is in rehearsal for the 2015 show. There are 35 youngsters enrolled in the workshop and are eagerly working on acting, singing, and dancing. The show opens July 16 for three performances.
– Mike Louviere